New York City Ballet to leap into Minneapolis

- Tracking down a Seurat is easy enough in the Twin Cities.  Finding one of Deborah Butterfield’s horses is as simple as walking the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  But a living, breathing piece by Robbins or Balanchine - that rare treat comes but every few years.

This weekend a vibrant history lesson in American dance leaps into town hardly a mile from the mighty Mississippi.  The living practitioners of that lesson may not be altogether Minnesotan, but they certainly have the right resumes.

When the New York City Ballet steps into view Saturday night at Northrop Auditorium, they’ll unpack a whirlwind of contemporary repertoire created by the hottest names in choreography. The small-scale chamber tour features everything from romantic gems like Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, to progressive works from Angelin Preljocaj and highly in-demand Justin Peck. 

Peck, the company’s choreographer- in- residence, who still dances in certain performances, won’t be making the trip to Minneapolis, but his flair and hearty athleticism will be brought to Minnesota by some of the NYCB’s most seasoned artists.

“Justin has done a really tremendous job of capturing the spirit of the dancers - we are a tight knit group and that has really become apparent in the stage works that he creates,” said Adrian Danchig- Waring, one of the company’s principal dancers who will make the trek to Northrop.

Minnesotans will see Peck’s first full work for the NYCB, In Creases, which premiered in 2012 - the piece a clear testament to the company’s dedication to breaking new barriers in American dance. 

“You’ll see a lot of the traditional gender roles that ballet kind of presumes being questioned in alignment with broader trends in society,” said Danchig- Waring. “Because we are an organization that commissions and generates new work we are constantly producing new stage content that reflects reality in that way.”

The New York City Ballet is also no stranger to the classics.  This fall at Lincoln Center they pulled out the perennial favorite, Swan Lake.  But if you’re looking for a traditional ballet complete with princes and deathly spirits, you’ll need to look elsewhere.  Each of this program’s five works lack the rigid comforts of a definitive narrative.

“These works are not fairytales, but even in their abstractive form there is the undeniable amount of people sharing space, people in contact with other bodies,” said Danchig- Waring. “These roles reflect human experience, so they are relatable - anyone in that audience will have access points to recognizing the qualities of love, of loss, of camaraderie.”

The one-night only performance is nearly sold out.  Still, if tickets elude you… there’s always the chance of art meeting art.  As much as Minnesota wants to see New York’s take on ballet, New York wants a piece of Minneapolis.

“I’m really excited to see the Walker - a truly world-renowned space for contemporary art. And I’ve got a nice long list of restaurant recommendations,” said Danchig- Waring.

The New York City Ballet hits the Northrop Auditorium stage at the University of Minnesota this Saturday, October 28th, at 7:30.  For a sampling of their works on the program, watch the video above.

Abraham Swee is a multi-media producer at FOX 9 covering the arts across central Minnesota.  Send story ideas to

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